Business opportunities, (or biz opps as they’re sometimes called) are not franchise opportunities. Did you know that?
About a year ago, I got into a little online tiff with a gentleman who was calling his business opportunity a “franchise.” Except it wasn’t a franchise. As a matter of fact, it wasn’t even in the same family as a franchise business.
I told him that if he didn’t stop offering his little “biz-opp” as a “franchise opportunity” I would turn him into the FTC. (Federal Trade Commission) I wasn’t kidding.
That kind of stuff really gets me going. I mean it really gets me going. I cannot stand scams. I hate (yes hate) people and companies that try to take advantage of others by using words that totally misrepresent what it is they’re doing, or in this case, what they’re selling.
I don’t remember the name of the company, but there are two distinct things about it that I do remember;
1. The total investment was around $500.
2. The product that was being peddled was a “wellness product.” Translation: Vitamins.
This “franchise” was nothing more than your typical MLM garbage. You know, multi-level-marketing…network marketing..whatever it’s called nowadays. I can’t stand it.
How many different ways will these “network marketers” try to get me to sign on with their lousy products?
I know I’m in trouble when I answer my phone, and there’s a “friend” that I haven’t heard from for 7+ years on the other end of the line.
Friend : “Joel Libava! How the heck are you? I haven’t seen you in like forever!”
Me: “I’m good, what’s happening?”
Friend: “Well, the reason I’m calling, is to find out if you’d be interested in making some extra money…you know, in your own business?”
Me: “Well, I have my own business already…”
Friend: “Great!!!!!!!!! Well, you can do this part-time. Can you meet me for coffee tomorrow, so I can show you what it is? I’m really excited about it…”
Yada. Yada. Yada…
Me: “So, what is this great thing?
Friend: “Well, I’d rather show it to you in person….”
Me: “Is it anything to do with MLM?”
Friend: “No…It’s not MLM. It’s a kind of direct marketing.You know, Network Marketing…”
It Was MLM By Golly
As a matter of fact, there are some sneaky little pukes who are using the word “franchise” in their flimsy, but colorful, brochures. Bad. These are not franchises.
Folks that are selling business opportunities do have rules…laws they must follow. It’s just that they are not held to account as much as a franchise business is.
That’s not to say that business opportunities are bad; it’s just that they’re usually not as tight-system-wise as a genuine franchise opportunity.
As I mentioned up above, there are certain rules that those selling business opportunities must follow. There are also certain rules that those selling franchises must abide by. Go to the US Government’s BCD to read them.
When I do seminars on franchise ownership, I always tell the attendees that one way to tell if an “opportunity” is a franchise opportunity or not, is to look at the start-up costs involved. Please allow me to be blunt here:
If the total up-front investment is $485, it’s not a franchise.
Anyone that tries to sell you a “franchise” for a few hundred dollars, is someone you shouldn’t do business with.
A franchise business, at a minimum, will cost you $40,000 on up.
You get lots of stuff included in that cost.
- An operating system
- Formal training
- Support (On site and off site)
- Purchasing power
- A marketing plan
- Real Estate assistance
Those are just some of the things that you’ll get as a franchise owner. There’s more.
The Support Will Be Different
Business opportunities usually provide the minimum needed to help you launch your business. The support is usually not ongoing unless you’re willing to pay for it. (Most sellers of biz-opps will tell you that you’ll get support, but they don’t have to do it. It’s not part of the legal agreement.)
A franchise contract, although wordy and complicated, does state what the franchise company must do, support-wise.
FYI: I worked as a broker with a few business opportunities, in the past. (I don’t now) One of them was an equipment leasing company. Fail. One was a sign business. Not bad. The other ones were so bland, I really don’t remember what they were.
The point is this; If you’re going to become your own boss, make sure you know exactly what you’re getting into. Become an educated buyer. And make sure you’re buying a franchise opportunity or business opportunity for all the right reasons.
(This post originally appeared on The Franchise King Blog )